This is an email I received from my Congressman, Pete Sessions, and I feel it MUST be shared with my readers. I present the email and my comments follow below. I hope you will read this and the words I have for Rep. Pete Sessions and his staff. I believe it’s a good message for all concerned at this critical time in American politics.
Obama’s Private Army
I have heard from several of you who have expressed concern for talk of a “Ready Reserve Corps” and President Obama being given a “national security force,” or a “private army” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – otherwise known as ObamaCare. I appreciate when each of you brings things like this to my attention.
Ever since ObamaCare was rammed through Congress nearly four years ago, there has been discussion of a “civilian army” being created by ObamaCare. Along with all of ObamaCare’s other terrible provisions, I was very alarmed to hear of something like this. My staff and I looked into this and I want to share with you what we found.
The truth about anything involving the Ready Reserve Corps does not involve the military or an army. Most of the concern and confusion surrounding this stems primarily from some of the terms – “corps,” “reserve corps,” and “active duty” – used for what the truth actually is. Anyone who hears or sees these military terms used in reference to anything would naturally assume there is some element of the military involved. However, this is not the case.
The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps is a uniformed group of 6,500 health professionals. It is a military-like organization that dates back to 1871 and comes from the Commissioned Corps’ work with Marine hospitals stationed along coastal and inland waterways. It is also why the U.S. Surgeon General is called the Surgeon General. You can access a brief history of the USPHS Commissioned Corps here: http://www.usphs.gov/aboutus/history.aspx.
Today, teams of Commissioned Corps officers often work with the military on humanitarian missions, and some serve on U.S. Navy hospital ships. In recent years, the Commissioned Corps’ emergency response teams have responded to hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast and international incidents like the earthquake in Haiti.
However, the Commissioned Corps is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), not the U.S. military. Likewise, the new “Ready Reserve Corps” will be part of HHS, and not part of the military. The text of ObamaCare says, “The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is to fulfill the need to have additional Commissioned Corps personnel available on short notice (similar to the uniformed service’s reserve program) to assist regular Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions.”
They do not carry weapons, and they do not have military training. The Commissioned Corps did not have a “ready reserve” – a group of people who could be called up involuntarily in times of need. What it had was a regular, full-time corps of 2,800 doctors, nurses, scientists, and other medical professionals. This was the cap under the law. However, most of those in the reserve corps – which was actually larger than the regular corps – were on extended active duty for their entire careers. In other words, they worked full-time, just like the regular corps, because they were needed, but the personnel cap prevented the service from bringing them into the regular corps.
ObamaCare simply eliminated the personnel cap on the Commissioned Corps’ regular medical professional corps, which allowed it to absorb the current reserve corps. ObamaCare also created a new reserve corps to be a true reserve corps only called up for service by the Surgeon General in real times of need and disaster. The Annenberg Public Policy Center wrote an informative Fact Check of this issue back in 2010, which can be accessed here: http://www.factcheck.org/2010/04/obamas-private-army/.
I hope that this information answers some of your questions about this issue. I am not opposed to our country having medical professionals ready to respond to disasters and other public health crises, I am glad that, like me, my constituents consistently take a moment to question anything related to ObamaCare.
I hear nearly every day from my constituents who are not only opposed to ObamaCare, but are feeling its negative effects. Americans are already seeing their health care costs increase and their current health plans canceled, even though they were promised lower costs and no plan disruption. ObamaCare is the largest intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship ever seen, and is plagued with reduced Medicare benefits for our nation’s seniors, new mandates on individuals and businesses, increased deficits and debt, and increased taxes for all.
North Texans deserve better than a law that is bad for our economy, bad for job creation, and bad for our health care system. Since this disastrous law was forced through Congress nearly four years ago, I have led the fight in Congress to stop it. I have voted more than 45 times to repeal, dismantle, or defund ObamaCare. Due to our efforts, President Obama has signed into law nine of these bills to repeal pieces of ObamaCare, or reduce funding for programs within the law – a step towards victory for all Americans.
As your Congressman, I will continue to fight against ObamaCare every step of the way. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Legislative Director, Lindsay Pitts, at 202.225.2231, or by email at Lindsay.Pitts@mail.house.gov. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Member of Congress
I have a lot of issues with the U.S. Congress and Senate, I have for quite some time. I doubt those issues will be easily put to rest but the above email from Pete Sessions has inspired a NEW level of respect from me. How many other Congressmen and Senators have the balls to address the topic of Obama’s Private Army?
I have many friends and readers that ask me, quite often, “Fred, why don’t YOU run for Council, Congress or something? We KNOW you would be a man of your word and would always vote the way you should!”
I have to tell you, it has piqued my interest from time to time but there’s no way I could be an elected official, you see, if I were then I would have to put up with people like ME. Of course there would be the *squishy* GOP folks and the Libbers to put up with too, you are, after all, as an elected official, their Congressman, Senator or whatever title you may hold too.
And here’s a bit of truth we ALL need to embrace. No matter who your elected officials may be, they are not always going to vote exactly the way that YOU think they should. If they did then they wouldn’t be a good representative for all concerned parties.
Having a relationship with your Congressman can be a trying experience, you’re NEVER going to agree on all issues, and at some point you’re going to think your Congressman is a genius and at others you’re going to want to wring his neck, but if you think about it, having a good Congressman is a lot like having a good spouse.
You run your household together, you learn each other’s likes and dislikes, you learn that at some point you have to make an exception or two, a compromise if you will, and if it’s a good marriage and you can really trust your spouse to have nothing but the best interest of you and the family at heart, you learn to sit down at the dinner table and eat what was cooked for you, and basically, don’t complain too much.
You also learn that you have to compliment your spouse too, well, if you want a successful marriage that is.
I have been very critical of Congress as a whole lately, and I think I took it out on the wrong person when I blasted Pete recently. I know that if YOU are married you know what I mean. You had a bad day and you lash out at the one that really does have your best interest at heart. And damn, as soon as you do, you really wish that life had a *take that one back* button.
Pete Sessions is a hard working guy, he and his staff work hard for the people of Texas and I have to say, I appreciate every bit of it.
Pete and I are a lot alike in many respects. Pete does the very best he can with the situation that is handed to him and if you ask Pete a question, well, you WILL get an answer. It may not be the answer you wanted to hear but you will get an answer that reflects what Pete’s *take* on any particular topic may be.
Remind you of a certain political blogger in Rowlett that you all know and love?? 🙂
Pete, you keep hammering my friend, you’ll still have my support, even if I am totally angered by the GOP and the RINOs that push themselves off on us and pretend to be Conservatives.